Construction Division News

President's message

Dear members:


Here we are again with yet another successful year under our belts with the Construction Division. We had a great annual conference in Cancún, Mexico, where we had both Solutions and Research tracks on construction topics. With the wonderful support of Dan Epstein, Chairman of the CONAM Group of Companies, we have continued to promote student involvement in the construction industry through the Best Paper Award.

Next year's annual conference is scheduled for Reno, Nev., in late May 2011, and the Construction Division's planning is well on the way. George Gardner, our membership chair, is co-chair for the Solutions track and Professor Laura Ikuma of LSU is co-chair of the Research track. They are both doing a fantastic job of organizing interesting and informative presentations, and they both point to an increasing level of participation as evidenced by a rise in the number of construction papers submitted for the program. More from the president


Projects as a production system

By Matt Horvat, Lean Project Inc.


All of lean may be appropriate to construction, but Lean Construction Institute has defined three opportunities that are specific to construction. They are:

  1. Impeccable coordination
  2. Designing the projects as a production system
  3. Operating as a Lean enterprise

Much attention from the Lean Construction Institute has been on reliability, the first opportunity. The Last Planner® System was created to provide systematic and reliable coordination between trades. Additionally, there is much focus on Integrated Project Delivery utilizing a contracting structure that incentivizes whole project optimization. Project owners and architects are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of integrated delivery. Design methods are changing. It is now not unusual to hear of project teams with CAD trained trade foremen working alongside engineers creating shop drawings completely skipping previously utilized design gates of traditional approaches. Read more

Membership chair's message
By George P. Gardner, state partnering coordinator, Virginia Department of Transportation

Hello, members!

All of us in the IIE Construction Division wish all of you happy holidays. In the meantime, we are going to keep moving our division along and continue to expand our membership.

This month we are featuring articles in the construction newsletter from Matt Horvat and Sammy Wan. Please enjoy. One of the stengths in this division is the diverse background that we all have and can share with others.

Thanks goes out to those who submitted abstracts for the IIE Annual Conference and Expo 2011. We are currently reviewing these for inclusion in the conference. Notifications will be forthcoming. Even if you are not presenting, please plan to attend as I am sure it will be a good learning experience and an exciting time.

In addition, I would like to note that our very own Lincoln Forbes has published another book, Modern Construction: Lean Project Delivery and Integrated Practices. More information on this new and exciting book is enclosed in this issue of the newsletter.

Lastly, we would love to hear from you. Please contact us if you wish to be an active participant of our growing division.    

Happy holidays,



International article: Effective product inspections for construction projects


By Sammy Wan, The University of Hong Kong

The process-control expert, Shigeo Shingo, suggested that Zero Quality Control (ZQC) system is an important approach in manufacturing to prevent deficiencies by monitoring the performance of the processes. This ZQC system emphasizes the concept of "poka-yoke" and "source inspection" as tools to eliminate quality defects entirely. It means that "mistakes" should be eliminated before becoming defective products and "feedbacks" should be provided for improving the production. As the traditional management system always builds on PDCA cycle, it is arguable that the cycle can never absolutely prevent defects as it essentially tolerates the occurrence of defects. The ZQC approach overcomes this limitation by integrating the Do and Check processes to promote inspection at the source in order to ensure instant feedback before any defects happen. Read the complete article


Announcement of the student competition

For presentation at the IIE Annual Conference and Expo - May 21-25, 2011 - Reno, Nev.

Thanks to the CONAM Group of Companies, we are pleased to announce the Student Paper Competition for 2010-2011. The CONAM Group of Companies is a builder and developer of residential projects throughout the United States, and is sponsoring a student competition for papers and projects demonstrating or describing the use of industrial engineering tools in a construction environment.

The papers should demonstrate or describe the use of techniques such as lean methods, quality management, Six Sigma, green technology/sustainability, simulation, optimization, automation, and basic IE tools/applications. Both undergraduate and graduate students are invited to submit papers. Competition is open to U.S. students only. The winner will receive a cash gift of $1,500 and up to an additional $1,000 for air/hotel/miscellaneous travel expenses. The winning paper will be presented at the IIE Annual Conference and Expo 2011 in Reno, Nev.

Papers will be due by March 4, 2011, and the winner will be notified by April 4, 2011. Papers must be no more than 10 pages in length and follow the requirements summarized in the competition guidelines.

As this is a student competition, papers co-authored by professors are excluded from the competition, but your professor's assistance is welcome.

Click here for more information including competition guidelines.

To ask questions and submit papers via e-mail, contact Bonnie Cameron or (800) 494-0460, ext.105.


Book note


By George Gardner

Do you need cutting-edge approaches for improving construction performance and competitiveness? If the answer is yes, then take a look at our very own, Lincoln Forbes', new book, "Modern Construction: Lean Project Delivery and Integrated Practices." The book was co-authored by Dr. Syed Ahmed, chair of construction management at East Carolina University.

According to the Lean Construction Institute, this book is the first one written on the subject as a complete work. It provides more continuity for those who are new to the subject than other edited works and proceedings with multiple authors.
The book has three cases that represent IE involvement in construction. It also explains how IEs can prepare for a role in the construction industry through lean construction.

The book has already been adopted by a couple of universities for courses in lean and quality management in construction.
Interested readers can obtain the book at; ISBN number 978-1-4200-6312-7.

Click here for more details and discount purchase information.


Wanted: Construction articles for Industrial Engineer magazine

The Construction Division invites members to submit articles on construction topics through our publications committee for publication in the monthly Industrial Engineer magazine. We would like to see IE-related articles about construction included in the Industrial Engineer magazine on a regular basis, and we are starting by determining which members are interested, and the topics that they would like to write about. At this point, we would just like to see a brief outline of the topic(s) that you wish to write about. Following that we plan to provide you with the detailed publication requirements, such as the format and length to be observed for each article. By working together, we can organize our articles in a sequence that will be most interesting and informative for our readers. Please contact our newsletter editor, Paula Eick.

December 2010
Construction Photo
In This Issue
President's message
Projects as a production system
Membership chair's message
International article: Effective product inspections for construction projects
Announcement of the student paper competition
Book note
Wanted: Construction articles for Industrial Engineer magazine

Mentoring and Internship Opportunities for IE Students in the Construction Industry


We are actively seeking members who work in the construction industry to serve as mentors.

Interested parties, contact Al Attah.

For more information

Money Back Training Ad 

International Correspondents


The Construction Division has a special opportunity for members who wish to serve as international correspondents. You do not have to be a professional writer. We just want to know what is going on in the construction industry in your part of the world!

Let us hear from you as soon as possible; contact Pam Patterson or Lincoln Forbes.

Sign Up to Join The Construction Division!
1. Go to this link

2. Select "Update Your
Member Record"

3. Set up username and password (if you don't already have one)

4. Under "Societies and Divisions," select "Edit" and click on the
Construction Division

Call Robyn Dowdall at
(800) 494-0460, ext. 102, for assistance.

It's fast, free and simple.


Construction Division Committees

Please consider joining one of the following committees and helping the division through your expertise.



Continuing education



Industry liaison

Discussion board/Website support
Construction Division Board

Lincoln Forbes

George Gardner
Membership Director


Matt Horvat, P.E.

Industry Liaison

Paul Ray
Continuing Education Chair

Al Attah
Mentoring Program Chair

Paula Eick
Newsletter Editor

Bobby Smyth
Student Liaison

International Correspondents
Farook Azam - India
Brent Robertson - Canada
Sammy Wan - Hong Kong
Become an IIE Corporate Partner

Leading organizations develop the right strategic relationships.

Learn how your organization can benefit through an IIE Corporate Partnership.

Contact Doug Long, (770) 349-1109.